2. Materiality

The company discloses the aspects of its business operations that have a significant impact on sustainability issues and what material impact sustainability issues have on its operations. It analyses the positive and negative effects and provides information as to how these insights are integrated into the company’s processes.

All aspects of sustainability have special relevance for the Werner & Mertz Group as a player in the chemical industry. For one thing, competition for well-qualified experts is growing as a result of demographic change. For another, sustainability issues are becoming more important for customers and business partners too.    

With these things in mind, we carried out in the reporting year a materiality analysis with our employees and, with regard to the expectations of stakeholder groups most relevant for us, we made an indirect survey of interfaces in our company. In the process we determined the most important opportunities and risks in the previously identified areas of action and defined the most important sub-topics.  

We used an iterative process for the analysis of the risks and opportunities.    First we drew up a list of proposed topics based on preliminary research in the five action areas. Then in an all-day workshop, employees from specialized departments assessed the topics against different criteria and graded them on a three-level scale. In the course of this work, internal experts assessed the Werner & Mertz impacts and their seriousness. In the final step, the list of topics was verified by our Sustainability Officer.     

The following opportunities and risks and the key subtopics play a central role in the pursuit of the group-wide strategic corporate goals:

  Areas of Action Potential Opportunities, Risks and Impact Key Subtopics of Werner & Mertz
  Basis of a sustainable company is  acting responsibly and  maintaining integrity in all   stages of the value chain.   Following laws, keeping agreements is the foremost rule    
 Integrity and responsibility are expected of our employees, our suppliers, partners and service providers                 

Dependence on meeting standards by our partners, suppliers and service providers  
Supplier contracts with environmental and social criteria / Supplier Code of Conduct    

Integrity management with Codes of Conduct

Use of palm kernel and coconut oils in the manufacture of surfactants (that's the reason for our membership in initiatives for sustainable biodegradability and research on domestic raw materials for surfactant production     

Challenge for end consumer:  Balancing out quality and a sustainable way of life, i.e., bringing both together.  

Task for Werner & Mertz: repeatedly overcome this presumed contradiction, rework products to increase sustainability performance and to offer consumers products that are true alternatives  

Sustainability performance by means of innovation processes

Use of renewable raw materials   / Alternative: use of domestically cultivated plants
  The manufacture of products consumes resources and releases environmentally hazardous substances (water, electricity, CO2, wastewater, etc.)     

Briefly: Striving toward low impact and more innovation to keep the impact on the environment  as low as possible.   -­>   permanent driver at W&M   Besides surfactants, intense work on packaging issues Recyclate use in packaging

Problem of lack of qualified personnel and opportunities  

Missing qualifications and challenges of developing appropriate competence, including through staff turnover (tariff contracts, ensuring higher employer attractiveness, training to build up competence, etc.)      

Employee absences, mostly due to accidents and health hazards   Employees as "Sustainability Ambassadors"  has to be practiced – that's why we take measures to reinforce corporate culture  
Engaged in fighting the loss of biodiversity in past decades caused by increasing industrialization

Corporate culture          

Training and Personal development

Increase awareness of sustainability issues among the general public      

Encourage innovations and share innovative ideas, especially on sustainability topics  
Biodiversity and Species protection  

Industry initiative (Recyclate)